Samaritans launches virtual marathon fundraiser
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A virtual marathon to support vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond has been launched by North Somerset Samaritans.
The charity is encouraging supporters to get active and improve their wellbeing through its Samarathon challenge, while raising vital funds for the district branch.
People can jog or walk the 26.2-mile marathon distance in their own time for the cause in July, which will help the charity recuperate a ‘significant loss of funding’ since its events were cancelled due to the virus.
In 2019, Samaritan volunteers answered more than 14,000 phone calls, 1,000 emails and 900 text messages from people nationwide experiencing emotional distress. The charity says it ‘really needs continued support’ during the outbreak.
Branch director Andy said: “While we don’t know how long we’ll be observing social distancing and Government guidance on daily exercise, this is a challenge you can do on your own, with members of your household, or join with friends, family and workmates virtually, supporting each other’s progress wherever you are.
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“Now more than ever, we know getting active works wonders for your mental wellbeing, and Samarathon is a great goal to motivate people to go at their own pace during the challenge.
“Whatever your age or ability, it’s an initiative to do in your time, wherever you live or work and we hope supporters will encourage their friends and family of all ages to take part, as it’s an achievable challenge they can all share and enjoy.”
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The marathon launches days before the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place next Monday-Friday, and the charity hopes people will be kind enough to raise funds for the Samaritans to ‘deliver a critical service’ in the district.
Andy added: “Due to the cancellation of many of our fundraising events, Samaritans is facing a significant loss of funding, so we’re urging the public to help us ensure we continue to be here for anyone who needs support.
“We’d love for everyone to raise whatever they can to support their local branch of Samaritans and help us be there for anyone struggling to cope.”
To take part in the challenge, sign up for free at www.samaritans.org/samarathon